Opening: Sovereign Acts at Justin M. Barnicke

April 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

2012 Curatorial Studies Thesis Exhibition: Sovereign Acts

Curated by Wanda Nanibush.

The history of Indigenous Peoples performing cultural dances and practices for international and colonial audiences is an important part of Indigenous art generally, and performance art specifically. The Indigenous performers known as ‘Indians’ faced the conundrum of maintaining traditional cultural practices by performing them on stage while also having that performance fulfill the desires of a colonial imaginary. In Sovereign Acts, the artists Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Robert Houle, Terrance Houle, Shelley Niro, Adrian Stimson, and Jeff Thomas, contend with the legacy of colonial representations. Drawing on the depiction of the imaginary Indian – the ahistorical, pre-contact ‘primitivism’ in popular and mass culture – they recover and construct new ways of performing the complexity of Indigenous cultures for a contemporary art audience. Their work returns to the multi-levelled history of ‘Performing Indian’ to recuperate the erased and objectified performer as an ancestor, an artist, and an Indigenous subject.

This exhibition is produced as part of the requirements for the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto.

The show runs at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery from April 18 – May 27, 2012.

There will be an opening reception on Wednesday April 18, from 7:00-9:00 PM.

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